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Tarcila Rivera Zea, president of our Peruvian sister organization CHIRAPAQ, was recently interviewed about Voice for Justice, her radio program for Indigenous Peoples in Peru. Below is a brief summary of her interview:

In her recent interview, Tarcila Rivera Zea, president of CHIRAPAQ, noted that Indigenous Peoples in Peru are not just excluded from national society, but from information society as well. Even though Peru has recognized itself as a multicultural and multilingual country, it has not developed communication policies and programs for its Indigenous communities. It’s as if “they could not imagine Indigenous communities as creators of media” stated Rivera Zea. This is why Rivera Zea, an Indigenous activist, is working with CHIRAPAQ to fight for Indigenous communities’ access to communications, so that they can share their own experiences, develop their own messages, and be recognized as citizens of the State. Sapinchikmanta, or Voices for Justice, creates communication spaces and networks for Indigenous Peoples, by Indigenous Peoples.  

Overcoming Indigenous Peoples’ lack of access to media and information is one of the various challenges that these communities face. But they will not be discouraged. Rivera Zea said: “Indigenous communities are more intercultural than anything else. We have survived colonization, genocide and exclusion and we have adapted to all contexts. This is just another challenge in our struggle.” 

To see a full summary of her interview in Spanish, click here.

We recently received a report from CHIRAPAQ, our sister organization in Peru, sharing updates on the radio program they run with Indigenous communities. The radio is used as a means to share information on health, domestic violence, women’s political participation, food security, climate change and more. CHIRAPAQ works with Indigenous women and men to train them in radio production and broadcasting, and to develop programming to promote women’s human rights and collective Indigenous rights. The report highlighted testimonials from “communicators”, the radio program participants. We would like to share some of those testimonials with you now:

Olinda Jorge Perez, Indigenous Communicator from Huanta:
“Nuestro rol como comunicadores y cominicadoras idígenas es muy importante en la sociedad, porque nosotros llevamos la voz de nuestros pueblos, defendemos nuestros derechos, e informamos lo que pasa en nuestras comunidades…”

“Our role as Indigenous communicators is very important in society, because we carry the voice of our towns, we defend our rights, and we inform of what’s happening in our communities...”

Leónidas Rodríguez Berrocal, Indigenous Communicator from Vilcas Huamán:
“Necesitamos seguir fortaleciéndonos para seguir sensibilizando a más gente, hacer talleres con los comunicadores. Yo quisiera que tengamos una radio propia para los comunicadores, que llegue a todas las provincias de Vilcashuamán. Espero que más jóvenes participen en la organización, en algún momento deberán reemplazarnos a los mayores, pero juntos debemos trabajar para seguir adelante…”

“We need to continue strengthening ourselves so that we can continue bringing awareness to more people, have workshops with the communicators. I would like that we have our own radio for the communicators that reaches all of the Vilcas Huamán provinces. I hope that more young people participate in the organization, at some point they will have to take over for the older participants, but together we should work to move forward…”

Margarita Soto Bautista, Indigenous Communicator from Huamanga:
“Los comunicadores indígenas estamos fortaleciendo nuestra organización, y no desmayamos… estamos en constante contacto con nuestras bases, comunicándonos… por eso nuestra Red está luchando, está trabajando para defender nuestros derechos individuales y colectivos…”

“We Indigenous communicators are strengthening our organization, and we do not falter… we are in constant contact with our bases, communicating… this is what our network is fighting for, to work towards defending our individual and collective rights…”

We have exciting news to report from Voices for Justice! Just last week, thanks to generous donor support, MADRE was able to send financial support to CHIRAPAQ, our partners in Peru who run the weekly radio program with Indigenous women. With this support, Voices for Justice will be able to continue their radio programming throughout the end of the year and into 2013. CHIRAPAQ uses radio to share information on health, domestic violence, women’s political participation, food security, climate change and more. The program helps rural Indigenous women to develop an innovative way to share knowledge, disseminate information to their communities and conduct public education campaigns. We were so happy to be able to support this vital, innovative project!

In Peru, more than half of all people – and nearly 80% of Indigenous Peoples and those of African descent – live in poverty. Indigenous women face the additional challenge of gender discrimination. They are underrepresented in local government, exposed to gender-based violence and lack access to health care. Maternal mortality in the region is 185 deaths per 100,000 live births, as compared to an average of nine per 100,000 in industrialized countries. Indigenous women who seek health care often encounter professionals who do not speak their local language and cannot fully explain reproductive health information.

MADRE and our partner CHIRAPAQ (The Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Cultures of Peru) are using radio to share information on health, domestic violence, women’s political participation, food security, climate change and more in these geographically isolated communities. Together, MADRE and CHIRAPAQ are training Indigenous women and men in radio production and broadcasting, providing equipment to a network of radio producers and developing programming to promote women’s human rights and collective Indigenous rights.

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Yifat Susskind

New York, New York United States

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